Join Focus on Change in Education and Esolution

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sugata Mitra Wins the 2013 TED Prize

As an experiment, a man puts a single computer, with only a mouse, no keyboard, three feet off the ground, in a wall, in a slum, in india. Three months later a group of children have created a SOLE, a Self Organized Learning Environment, and taught themselves English, and how to use all the software on the computer.

Unstoppable Learning may be inevitable, but schools and teachers are crushing our children's natural curiosity and driving them to fail.

Sugata Mitra, faced with the impossible task of educating hundreds of millions of India's youth, without resources like money or technology, without educated teachers, found a way.

 “My wish is to help design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and work together. Help me build the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online. I also invite you, wherever you are, to create your own miniature child-driven learning environments and share your discoveries.”


Recruit technology, architecture, creative, and educational partners to help design and build the School in the Cloud, a physical building in India, designed to try out a range of cloud-based, scalable approaches to self-directed learning.
Contribute to the global network of educators and retired teachers who can support and engage the children through the web.
Engage communities, parents, schools and afterschool programs worldwide, to transform the way kids learn, by sharing the Self Organized Learning Environment’s (SOLE) toolkit, how-to videos, and educational resources.
Work with the TED community to implement various controlled experiments in the School in the Cloud laboratory in India.
Gather feedback from the School in the Cloud laboratory and the global community of SOLE educators to help shape the future of learning. The feedback will be used to create a blueprint, free for others to copy and scale, and a web-based public commons of educational resources.



  1.  Try out a Self-Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) in your home, school or community.
    Download the toolkit & share the results »
  2. Join the School in the Cloud mentor network of educators.Email Sugata to become part of the network »
  3. Make a financial contribution to this TED Prize wish.
    Email »
  4. Spread the word. #TEDSOLE
  5. Help build the School in the Cloud. See the list of current needs below and email to make a commitment.


This is a list of current needs for the School in the Cloud:
Core technology assistance
  • Cloud-based software design to manage laboratory school operations and education resources.
  • Video conference capability
  • Biometric and sensory technology
  • Computers
  • Large monitors
  • Furniture designers
  • Solar air conditioners and heaters
  • Water purification units
  • Innovative display methods (chalkboard paint, glass whiteboards, etc.)
Automated Remote Systems
  • Robotic cleaning machines
  • Remote heating, lighting and cooling systems
  • Other auto-monitoring systems
  • Build experience in the developing world and tropics
  • Awareness of safety, power, electric and storage issues
  • Identity branding
  • Web design
  • Training video toolkit
Email to make a commitment.


Educational researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest.
In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.
In the following years they replicated the experiment in other parts of India, urban and rural, with similar results, challenging some of the key assumptions of formal education. The "Hole in the Wall" project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who's now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK), calls it "minimally invasive education."